Don’t you love the Apostle Paul’s blunt honesty?
In describing the condition of the believers in Ephesus prior to their redemption through Christ, Paul said that they were “dead.” He didn’t describe them as going through a rough season, struggling just a bit, or having made a few mistakes. No, Paul said, “You were dead in your trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). The word dead describes a corpse; someone who is totally incapable of spiritual or moral thought. This describes our condition outside of the intervention of Jesus Christ. We were “by nature” children of wrath, Paul wrote; people prone to live in the lusts of our flesh and indulging the desires of our flesh (Eph. 2:3).
I wish to pause here, only long enough to state that the good news that we are to preach is really good in light of the bad news. Jesus Christ is not simply an option: take Him or leave Him. Without Christ, we have no hope whatsoever. We cannot climb out of the stench of sin and degradation on our own. We are spiritually bankrupt, and whatever “good” that might be conjured up in our state of deadness is but filthy rags (Isa. 64:6). In this condition of deadness, we are on a fast track to a Christless eternity and clearly, there is only one hope, one answer, and one Savior.
Paul continued, “But God” (Eph. 2:4). Aren’t you glad for that phrase? There was a time when my life was sorely lost. I was steeped in sin and addictions and in trouble with almost every form of authority at the time. Then I had an encounter with: But God! That changes everything, doesn’t it! Paul wrote, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:4-6). His mercy is outrageous and His love is boundless. God sought us out in our state of spiritual death, infused life into us and elevated us to a position of royal prestige.
When God transformed us, it placed us in a position of being seated in Christ. Watchman Nee wrote a small book called Sit, Walk, Stand. In this book, he outlines the three positions of a believer from the book of Ephesians. He states that the first and foremost position is that of sitting. He wrote, “We are invited at the very outset to sit down and enjoy what God has done for us; not to set out to try and attain it for ourselves.” Outside of our acknowledgement and repentance of sin, the spiritual transformation that we undergo is entirely God’s work. The moment that we receive this “gift of God” as Paul described it, we’re brought to life, raised up, and made to sit in heavenly places with Christ. Sitting, not striving, is a posture of receptivity and sheer dependence in Him. Nee continued, “Sitting is an attitude of rest. Something has been finished, work stops, and we sit. It is paradoxical, but true, that we only advance in the Christian life as we learn first of all to sit down.”
Nee pointed out that Adam was created on the sixth day; therefore, he had no part in creation. He came into being only at their end. God’s seventh day became Adam’s first day which was a day of rest. This creation account should become a pattern for all of us in that we sit (rest) before we walk or stand. Our spiritual life begins in a posture of intimacy seated with Christ, and it’s imperative that we begin there. Walking in Christ or standing against the enemy is not possible unless we’ve first learned to rest in His presence. All of our Christian life emanates out of intimacy and rest in Christ. The essence of faith is resting with Jesus void of fear, anxiety, and worry. Like Mary at the feet of Jesus, when we’re seated with Christ we are best able to hear His Word and move on His prompting. Distractions are minimal when we’re resting with Him because our attention is consumed with His presence.
Are you seated with Christ today? It’s your redeemed position in Christ. Before walking or standing, take some time to be seated with Christ.
Jesus, help me to learn to live from a posture of rest. I want to be seated in Christ.